Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
By now you are hearing that the work of the General Conference in St. Louis did not go as many of us had hoped and prayed it would go. The One Church Plan failed to pass and we will be left without a General Conference adopted way forward. It was our desire to be welcoming to all people in the UMC and make room for all our diverse theological understandings.
While some members of First Church did not want the policies of the UMC to change, many of us, myself included, hoped that the UMC would vote for a more open inclusive Church which would recognize the gifts and graces of LGBTQ+ people in our midst, provide full access to the ministries of the Church and full inclusion. Now that that the UMC will not vote to move forward at this time, what shall we do and say as the people of God at Indianola First UMC?
First, let me assure you that our entire church staff are unanimous in affirming our love and acceptance of each and every one of you including our LGBTQ+ members and their families. I as your Lead Pastor pledge to fully support every member of this congregation in every way I possibly can and to continue to stand up for and advocate for LGBTQ+ people who are being treated unjustly by the UMC. We love you. We will stand with you!
Second, I believe Indianola First must find ways to declare our love for everyone in our community be they progressive, conservative, LGBTQ+, whomever and let it be known that we love and accept all people no matter what others in the UMC may say.
This church has its own voice and in this time of struggle for justice and sharing God’s loving grace with all, your voice must be heard!
On Sunday March 10th following worship at 12:15p I will hold an informational meeting for anyone who wants to know more about the decisions of the General Conference. We will share, we will grieve, will pray and we will discuss how we continue to be the church in Indianola whom God has called to love and care for all. And all means all!
In the name of God who is love,
Tim Bonney, Lead Pastor